PART TWO: DO OTHER RELIGIONS BELIEVE IN JESUS ?
If you ask believers of other gods whether they believe in Jesus, you may be surprised to find them saying that they do. However, when you provide them the Biblical description of Jesus, you will find that they quickly retreat to a position of , “I do not believe in THAT Jesus !”
Even cults which claim that they are “Christian” often have a very different perspective of who Jesus really is. In almost every case, their false ideas come from their founders and cult prophets who have supposedly been given other scriptures, great wisdom, angelic appearances, or visions and dreams which formed their religion’s view of Jesus.
WHAT ISLAM BELIEVES ABOUT JESUS
Islam was formed around 600 years after the resurrection of our Lord, and long after much of the world became acquainted with the Jesus of the Bible. To counter the major inroads which true Christianity was making, Mohammed had to bring Jesus into the picture of his new religion. In Islam, Jesus is known as Isa and is one of God’s highest-ranked and most-beloved prophets, specifically sent to guide the Children of Israel.
***CONTRARY TO THIS ARE THE MANY PASSAGES WHICH SAY THAT JESUS WILL COME TO BRING SALVATION AND GUIDE THE GENTILES.
Isaiah 11:10 And in that day there shall be a root of Jesse, which shall stand for an ensign of the people; to it shall the Gentiles seek: and his rest shall be glorious.
Isaiah 42:1 Behold my servant, whom I uphold; mine elect, in whom my soul delighteth; I have put my spirit upon him: he shall bring forth judgment to the Gentiles.
Isaiah 42:6 I the LORD have called thee in righteousness, and will hold thine hand, and will keep thee, and give thee for a covenant of the people, for a light of the Gentiles;
Isaiah 49:6 And he said, It is a light thing that thou shouldest be my servant to raise up the tribes of Jacob, and to restore the preserved of Israel: I will also give thee for a light to the Gentiles, that thou mayest be my salvation unto the end of the earth.
Unlike Christian writings, the Qur’an does not describe Jesus as the son of God, but as one of five major human messengers (out of many prophets) sent by God throughout history to guide mankind. It also states that Jesus’ message to mankind was originally very similar to that of the other Islamic prophets, from Adam to Muhammad, but that it was subsequently distorted by early Christians. Jesus is said to have lived a life of piety and generosity, and abstained from eating flesh of swine (or of any animals, according to some Muslim authors, even some who were not vegetarians themselves). In the Muslim tradition, Jesus did not drink alcohol.
Muslims also believe that Jesus received a Gospel from God, called the Injeel and corresponding to the Christian New Testament. However, Muslims hold that the New Testament has been changed over time (as they also believe of the Old Testament) and does not accurately represent God’s original message to mankind.
CONTRARY TO THIS IS EVIDENCE FROM ARCHEOLOGY THAT THE TRUE BIBLE HAS NOT CHANGED.
2 Timothy 3:16 All scripture is given by inspiration of God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction, for instruction in righteousness:
IS GOD ABLE TO COMMUNICATE, OR NOT ? CAN HE PRESERVE HIS WORD, OR NOT ?
Jeremiah 32:27 Behold, I am the LORD, the God of all flesh: is there any thing too hard for me?
However, the Qur’an and New Testament overlap in other aspects of Jesus’ life; both Muslims and orthodox Christians believe that Jesus was miraculously born without a human biological father by the will of God, and that his mother, Mary (Maryam in Arabic), is among the most saintly, pious, chaste and virtuous women ever. The Qur’an also specifies that Jesus was able to perform miracles—though only by the will of God—including being able to raise the dead, restore sight to the blind and cure lepers. One miracle attributed to Jesus in the Qur’an, but not in the New Testament, is his being able to speak at only a few days old, to defend his mother from accusations of adultery. The Qur’an also says that Jesus was a ‘word’ from God, since he was predicted to come in the Old Testament.
Most Muslims believe that he was neither killed nor crucified, but that God made it appear so to his enemies. The Qur’an narrates that God made it appear so that Jesus was crucified to his enemies but he was not, and lived. According to Islam, Jesus ascended bodily to heaven and is alive. Some Muslim scholars maintain that Jesus was indeed put up on the cross, but did not die on it; rather, he revived and then ascended bodily to heaven. Others say that it was actually Judas Iscariot who was mistakenly crucified by the Romans. Regardless, Muslims believe that Jesus is alive in heaven and will return to the world in the flesh to defeat the Antichrist, once the world has become filled with sin, deception and injustice, and then live out the rest of his natural life.
There are many cults that claim to be fully “Christian” and in line with what the Bible teaches about Jesus. Sadly, they miss the Biblical description by a wide margin. This is most often due to their depending upon non-Biblical sources as the authorities.
WHAT “JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES” BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS
JEHOVAH’S WITNESSES CLAIM that Jesus was a sinless man, but was completely distinct from God. Their New World Translation of the Bible always notes Jesus as “a god” (one of many) rather than accepting the actual Greek words which indicate that He was The God.
This is typical of the many changes which the Jehovah’s Witnesses make in their version of the Bible, called the New World Translation. The New World Translation is unique in one thing – it is the first intentional, systematic effort at producing a complete version of the Bible that is edited and revised for the specific purpose of agreeing with a group’s doctrine. The Jehovah’s Witnesses and the Watchtower Society realized that their beliefs contradicted Scripture. So, rather than conforming their beliefs to Scripture, they altered Scripture to agree with their beliefs. The “New World Bible Translation Committee” went through the Bible and changed any Scripture that did not agree with Jehovah’s Witness theology. This is clearly demonstrated by the fact that, as new editions of the New World Translation were published, additional changes were made to the biblical text. As biblical Christians continued to point out Scriptures that clearly argue for the deity of Christ (for example), the Watchtower Society would publish new editions of the New World Translation with those Scriptures changed. Here are some of the more prominent examples of intentional revisions.
The New World Translation renders the Greek term word staurós (“cross”) as “torture stake” because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe that Jesus was crucified on a cross. The New World Translation does not translate the Greek words sheol, hades, gehenna, and tartarus as “hell” because Jehovah’s Witnesses do not believe in hell. The NWT gives the translation “presence” instead of “coming” for the Greek word parousia because Jehovah’s Witnesses believe that Christ has already returned in the early 1900s. In Colossians 1:16, the NWT inserts the word “other” despite its being completely absent from the original Greek text. It does this to give the view that “all other things” were created by Christ, instead of what the text says, “all things were created by Christ.” This is to go along with their belief that Christ is a created being, which they believe because they deny that God has three parts.
Before His earthly ministry, they believe that He was created as Michael, the archangel, a spirit being. He only took on the role of the physical Messiah when He was baptized. His power is secondary to God, and they believe that He “…was and always will be beneath Jehovah.”
Statements such as that reveal their doctrine that Jesus is not Jehovah, and thus a created being.
The deity of Christ is the central point of the Scriptures. It clearly teaches that Christ is God. The teachings of the Jehovah’s Witness’ concerning Jesus Christ clearly contradict the teachings of the Bible. Passages such as Philippians 2:5-11 tell us that Jesus Christ, who existed as God, took the bodily form of a humble servant so that He could die on the cross in our place. “Wherefore God also hath highly exalted him, and given him a name which is above every name: That at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of things in heaven, and things in earth, and things under the earth; And that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord (kurios), to the glory of God the Father.”
WHAT DO ATHEISTS BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS ?
There is no central organized place from which atheism sprouts….unless you could say, “Hell” is it. So, following are comments made by atheists concerning their believes. They seem to be very similar, with only a few exceptions.
“I think he was an intelligent man with some wonderful ideas and an admirable character.”
“Not *everything* he said was good advice.”
“I believe that Jesus was a real person. He was a wise Rabbi and spiritual teacher and his teachings, along with those of Confucius and the Buddha are well worth following.
I do not believe the “Christ” part, Jesus was clearly not the “Messiah” the Jews were expecting and also always said that we were to worship ONLY the “Father”. I do not believe he was “divine”.”
“I do not think that Jesus was the son of a supernatural god. I think the requiring of blood sacrifice for forgiveness is not really forgiveness. Jesus sacrificing himself for us is barbaric/evil/insane when you consider that supposedly he/God required the blood sacrifice in the first place and would not issue forgiveness without.”
“I think Jesus was most likely was a religious leader in the ancient world who was given up by Hebrew priests because he threatened the status quo. They made it sound as if he was planning an uprising against the Roman State.”
“I believe he is most likely a fictional character. If there really was a person around whom these legends grew up, he probably bore almost no resemblance to the stories in the Bible.”
WHAT JUDAISM BELIEVES ABOUT JESUS
Judaism rejects the idea of Jesus being God, or a person of a Trinity, or a mediator to God.
Some forms of Judaism, such as Chabad, believes that God is made of two substances, best described as the heart or soul, and the Spirit. They strongly object to any notion that God could reveal Himself physically. This concept was formalized by Maimomedes, or Rambam, a significant Jewish sage. He was certain that God could not have a physical presence based upon his own rationale. While many of Rambam’s theological points are valid, many appear to contradict the actual statements and teachings of the Tanach.
Wikipedia states that:
Judaism also holds that Jesus is not the Messiah, arguing that he had not fulfilled the Messianic prophecies in the Tanakh nor embodied the personal qualifications of the Messiah. According to Jewish tradition, there were no more prophets after Malachi, who lived centuries before Jesus and delivered his prophesies about 420 BC/BCE.
The doctrinal decisions were made, not by an interpretation of Scriptures, but by Rabbis and sages who made their own conclusions. Very often, modern arguments against Jesus come from Jewish theologians who argue from the emotional idea that Jesus is somehow responsible for all the troubles which Jews have suffered throughout history. Often, their arguments are filled with hatred and anger based upon that premise.
Also from Wikipedia:
The Babylonian Talmud include stories of Yeshu יֵשׁוּ; the vast majority of contemporary historians disregard these as sources on the historical Jesus.Contemporary Talmud scholars view these as comments on the relationship between Judaism and Christians or other sectarians, rather than comments on the historical Jesus.
The Mishneh Torah, an authoritative work of Jewish law, states in Hilkhot Melakhim 11:10–12 that Jesus is a “stumbling block” who makes “the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God”.Even Jesus the Nazarene who imagined that he would be Messiah and was killed by the court, was already prophesied by Daniel. So that it was said, “And the members of the outlaws of your nation would be carried to make a (prophetic) vision stand. And they stumbled.”[Dan. 11:14] Because, is there a greater stumbling-block than this one? So that all of the prophets spoke that the Messiah redeems Israel, and saves them, and gathers their banished ones, and strengthens their commandments. And this one caused (nations) to destroy Israel by sword, and to scatter their remnant, and to humiliate them, and to exchange the Torah, and to make the majority of the world err to serve a divinity besides God. However, the thoughts of the Creator of the world — there is no force in a human to attain them because our ways are not God’s ways, and our thoughts not God’s thoughts. And all these things of Jesus the Nazarene, and of (Muhammad) the Ishmaelite who stood after him — there is no (purpose) but to straighten out the way for the King Messiah, and to restore all the world to serve God together. So that it is said, “Because then I will turn toward the nations (giving them) a clear lip, to call all of them in the name of God and to serve God (shoulder to shoulder as) one shoulder.”[Zeph. 3:9] Look how all the world already becomes full of the things of the Messiah, and the things of the Torah, and the things of the commandments! And these things spread among the far islands and among the many nations uncircumcised of heart.
According to Conservative Judaism, Jews who believe Jesus is the Messiah have “crossed the line out of the Jewish community”. Reform Judaism, the modern progressive movement, states “For us in the Jewish community anyone who claims that Jesus is their savior is no longer a Jew and is an apostate“.
***Notations regarding the Jewish view of Jesus. The Jewish people have long had battles with genuine faith. God left the entire generation of Jews who left Egypt to die in the wilderness because they would not follow faith according to His Word (with the exception of Caleb and Joshua). Instead, they followed their own teachers (rabbi’s) who led them astray. This occurs many times throughout their history, and has resulted in their captivity and Diaspora as well as many other judgments from God. Today, many Jews are trapped in the traditions which have brought the anger of the Lord down upon them many times.
Today, many Orthodox Jews are following in the paths of their fathers, and listening to rabbi’s and sages rather than the Word of God. They have made up “principles” and concepts which go directly against what the Bible teaches.
However, there is a move among many younger orthodox Jews today to cast aside their previous teachings, and to study the Scriptures on the basis of its own authority. As a result, many are beginning to see the light which God reveals about Himself in the Word.
Revelation 7:3 Saying, Hurt not the earth, neither the sea, nor the trees, till we have sealed the servants of our God in their foreheads.
Revelation 7:4 And I heard the number of them which were sealed: and there were sealed an hundred and forty and four thousand of all the tribes of the children of Israel.
WHAT MORMONS BELIEVE ABOUT JESUS
The following excerpts are taken from an address to the Harvard Divinity School in March 2001 by Robert L. Millet, former dean of religious education at Brigham Young University. It is offered on Newsroom as a resource.
Latter-day Saints believe that the simplest reading of the New Testament text produces the simplest conclusion — that the Father, the Son and the Holy Ghost are separate and distinct personages, that They are one in purpose. We feel that the sheer preponderance of references in the Bible would lead an uninformed reader to the understanding that God the Father, Jesus Christ and the Holy Ghost are separate beings. That is, one must look to the third- and fourth-century Christian church, not to the New Testament itself, to make a strong case for the Trinity.
What Do Mormons Believe About Christ?
· We believe Jesus is the Son of God, the Only Begotten Son in the flesh (John 3:16). We accept the prophetic declarations in the Old Testament that refer directly and powerfully to the coming of the Messiah, the Savior of all humankind. We believe that Jesus of Nazareth was and is the fulfillment of those prophecies.
· We believe the accounts of Jesus’ life and ministry recorded in Matthew, Mark, Luke and John in the New Testament to be historical and truthful. For us the Jesus of history is indeed the Christ of faith. While we do not believe the Bible to be inerrant, complete or the final word of God, we accept the essential details of the Gospels and more particularly the divine witness of those men who walked and talked with Him or were mentored by His chosen apostles.
· We believe that He was born of a virgin, Mary, in Bethlehem of Judea in what has come to be known as the meridian of time, the central point in salvation history. From His mother, Mary, Jesus inherited mortality, the capacity to feel the frustrations and ills of this world, including the capacity to die. We believe that Jesus was fully human in that He was subject to sickness, to pain and to temptation.
We believe Jesus is the Son of God the Father and as such inherited powers of godhood and divinity from His Father, including immortality, the capacity to live forever. While He walked the dusty road of Palestine as a man, He possessed the powers of a God and ministered as one having authority, including power over the elements and even power over life and death.
In an interview of Former Mormon, Beth Johnston, of Idaho, says this about her former church’s views.
“Mormons do not believe in the Trinity as we understand it. They believe that God and Jesus were separate physical people” who dwelled on the earth, Johnston said. God was Jesus’ father, and both men died.”
In a look at comparing the beliefs of Mormonism to those of Biblical Christianity, this is what Sandra Tanner has found.
In order to understand the LDS doctrine regarding Lucifer one must also understand its doctrine of man. The LDS Church teaches that everyone, Jesus and Lucifer included, had a pre-mortal existence where we were born as spirit children of God and his wife. In the LDS teaching manual Gospel Principles we read:
“God is not only our ruler and creator; he is also our Heavenly Father. . . . Every person who was ever born on earth was our spirit brother or sister in heaven. The first spirit born to our heavenly parents was Jesus Christ (see D&C 93:21), so he is literally our elder brother (see Discourses of Brigham Young, p. 26). Because we are the spiritual children of our heavenly parents, we have inherited the potential to develop their divine qualities. (Gospel Principles, 1997, p. 11 [link])”
However, prior to this spirit birth each of us had eternally existed as an “intelligence.” Angels, devils, mortals and gods are regarded as the same species but in different stages of advancement or judgment. In one of Joseph Smith’s revelations we read, “Man was also in the beginning with God. Intelligence, or the light of truth, was not created or made, neither indeed can be” (Doctrine and Covenants 93:29). According to another of Smith’s revelations, God told Abraham:
“I dwell in the midst of them all . . . for I rule in the heavens above, and in the earth beneath, in all wisdom and prudence, over all the intelligences thine eyes have seen from the beginning; I came down in the beginning in the midst of all the intelligences thou hast seen.
Now the Lord had shown unto me, Abraham, the intelligences that were organized before the world was; and among all these there were many of the noble and great ones. (Abraham 3:21-22, Pearl of Great Price)”
According to LDS doctrine, the two oldest sons of God were Jesus and Lucifer. Lucifer convinced one-third of his brothers and sisters to join him in rebellion and were expelled from Heaven (see Gospel Principles, chapter 3 [link]). The other two-thirds became the humans born on our earth. This doctrine is mainly drawn from Joseph Smith’s revelations in the Book of Abraham and the Book of Moses in the Pearl of Great Price
. . .
This doctrine was further explained in the June 1986 LDS magazine Ensign. The question was asked “How can Jesus and Lucifer be spirit brothers when their characters and purposes are so utterly opposed?” Jess L. Christensen, Institute of Religion director at Utah State University, Logan, Utah, responded:
“On first hearing, the doctrine that Lucifer and our Lord, Jesus Christ, are brothers may seem surprising to some — especially to those unacquainted with latter-day revelations. But both the scriptures and the prophets affirm that Jesus Christ and Lucifer are indeed offspring of our Heavenly Father and, therefore, spirit brothers. Jesus Christ was with the Father from the beginning. Lucifer, too, was an angel who was in authority in the presence of God, a son of the morning. (See Isa. 14:12; D&C 76:25-27.) Both Jesus and Lucifer were strong leaders with great knowledge and influence. But as the Firstborn of the Father, Jesus was Lucifer’s older brother. (See Col. 1:15; D&C 93:21.)”
WHAT CHRISTIAN SCIENCE BELIEVES ABOUT JESUS
Christian Scientists do believe that Jesus stands alone in His mission and purpose as the promised Messiah. Christian Science teaches that Jesus embodied the divinity of God but that He Himself was not Deity—in keeping with Jesus’ own words that He was not the Father, and that God, the Father, alone should be worshiped.
Belief in Deity
God is incorporeal Spirit–creative Principle, supreme, omnipotent Father-Mother, omnipresent, omniscient–the only intelligence and all that actually exists. God is Mind, Spirit, Soul, Principle, Life, Truth, and Love. “God is All-in-all.”
We are all sons/daughters of God, though not at the level of understanding of Christ Jesus. Jesus was a divine Exemplar, and Christ is the divine idea of “sonship”–the Master. Jesus showed the way (the “wayshower”) for all to realize Truth, which is God.
WHAT SCIENTOLOGY BELIEVES ABOUT JESUS
Scientology believes that Jesus was a very wise man, of the same caliber as Moses. He understood that people needed to express love. So, He established a pattern for handing on the message of caring for others, called the Gospel.
“. . . these people (figures of major religions) handed on a torch of wisdom, of information, generation to generation. It was handed along geographical routes and one of those geographical routes was the Middle East. And one of the people who handed it on was a man named Moses. And again it was handed on to a man named Christ. And he handed it on and even the Arab nations benefited from this through their own prophet, Muhammad.
“And these men I consider great spiritual leaders, because they gave to Man, on down through the years, the hope that life could go on, that there was a spiritual side to existence, that the business of barter and gain was not all there was to life.”